Consumption of sufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables are recommended as part of a healthy diet. Fruit and vegetables may reduce chronic diseases and more specifically, coronary heart disease (CHD), by means of their protective constituents such as potassium, folate, vitamins, fiber, and other phenolic compounds.
These nutrients act through a variety of mechanisms, such as reducing antioxidant stress, improving lipoprotein profile, lowering blood pressure, increasing insulin sensitivity, and improving hemostasis regulation. However, the recommendation to eat fruit and vegetables to prevent chronic diseases is mainly based on observational epidemiological studies, which leaves much uncertainty regarding the causal mechanism of this association.
The researchers found that compared to people who never eat fruit, those who eat fruit every day cut their heart disease risk by 25% to 40%. Those who ate the most amounts of fruit also had much lower blood pressure compared to the participants who never ate fruit. In March a study by University College London found that eating seven portions of fruit and vegetables reduces risks of deaths from all causes by 42 per cent.
One of the recent meta-analysis provides further evidence that a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of all cause mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality. However, there was a threshold around five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, after which the risk of all cause mortality did not reduce further.
Understanding the relation between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality is important for guiding consumer choices and prioritizing dietary guidelines to reduce risk.
- Alexandra Sifferlin. Eating Fruit Cuts Heart Disease Risk by 40%.
- Luc Dauchet, Philippe Amouyel, Serge Hercberg, Jean Dallongeville. - Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies. J. Nutr. October 2006 vol. 136 no. 10 2588-2593.
- Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4490 (Published 29 July 2014)Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4490.